See What's Missing in New Stamps Honoring the Reign of King Charles

King Charles III has chosen an image for use on stamps in the U.K., and they'll be in circulation in time for his May 6 coronation

A handout picture received from Britain's Royal Mail in London on February 7, 2023, shows the new King Charles III 1st class stamp.
King Charles stamps. Photo: ROYAL MAIL GROUP/AFP via Getty Images

King Charles III is coming to mailboxes across the U.K. — but without a royal accessory.

The new image of King Charles, 74, that will be featured on new stamps was unveiled by the Royal Mail this week, marking the first time a monarch other than Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on British stamps in 70 years. They will go on sale for the first time on April 4, just over a month away from his coronation on May 6.

Unlike his mother, whose image showed her wearing a crown and jewelry, Charles has approved a plainer portrait.

Kings "have not always worn a crown, so quite rightly, the King has decided that's the image he wants, and we are very happy to show that image as he chose," explained David Gold, director of external affairs and policy at the Royal Mail.

An image of the King Charles III 1st class stamp
King Charles stamps. Image courtesy of The Postal Museum

The team at the Royal Mail worked with the Royal Mint to ensure the stamps match the image that appears on new British coins, following tradition. The image of King Charles is an adapted version of the portrait created by Martin Jennings for The Royal Mint.

"It is a meticulous process," Gold said. "This is a massive change. People have grown up only ever seeing the image of Her's been 70 years." And the image remained "pretty much the same" since 1967, he said.

One of the first sheets of the 1st class definitive stamp featuring King Charles III is unveiled as it goes on display at the Postal Museum in central London
King Charles stamps. Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

The new coins for the U.K. featuring the King were unveiled in September.

"It is the smallest work I have created, but it is humbling to know it will be seen and held by people around the world for centuries to come," artist Jennings told the Associated Press.

King Charles' portrait turns to the left, while his mother's faced right.

"Charles has followed that general tradition that we have in British coinage, going all the way back to Charles II actually, that the monarch faces in the opposite direction to their predecessor," said Chris Barker of the Royal Mint Museum, per the AP.

King Charles III and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort leave after visiting Bolton Town Hall
King Charles and Queen Camilla. OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

King Charles is the seventh British monarch to appear on stamps, with Queen Victoria being the first in 1840.

Earlier this week, the British government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport debuted a new website dedicated to the crowning ceremony of King Charles and Queen Camilla, 75. The launch came on Feb. 6, the Accession Day of the late Queen Elizabeth II and three months ahead of the coronation of her eldest son on May 6.

King Charles III and the Princess Royal arrive to attend a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

Included on the new site are details of the weekend including the ceremony at Westminster Abbey and the festive events planned for the three-day bank holiday weekend. It also includes recipes for suggested coronation dishes and a Spotify playlist celebrating both recent and not-so-recent British pop hits. The two-hour mix starts with "Come Together" by The Beatles and mostly features British groups and artists. The 27-song playlist includes Coldplay, David Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Harry Styles, Queen, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Sam Ryder, the Spice Girls, The Kinks, The Who and Tom Jones.

In a fitting touch, the mix closes with "King" by Years & Years.

Related Articles